Bulgaria’s GERB Party to Consider Reaction to President's Veto on New Voting Rules Tuesday

Domestic | May 7, 2016, Saturday // 21:09|  views

Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov speaks at a GERB party conference. File photo by BGNES

Bulgaria’s Prime Minister Boyko Borisov will meet GERB leadership and MPs on Tuesday to decide what course of action the biggest partner in the governing coalition will take after  President Rosen Plevneliev said he would veto disputed changes to the Electoral Code concerning voting abroad.

“I'll convene a meeting of GERB parliamentary faction and the party’s Executive Committee. At the same time we’ll continue discussions with our partners in the Reformist Bloc, the Patriotic Front and ABV because the stability of the state is important but the democratic rights of Bulgarian citizens shouldn’t be violated,” Borisov wrote on Facebook on Saturday.

Several hours earlier President Rosen Plevneliev said that he would send back to Parliament for further consideration disputed changes to the Electoral Code which he saw as infringement of the voting rights of Bulgarian citizens residing abroad.

The meeting of GERB would take a decision, “taking into account the risks to parliamentary majority and stability of the government", Borisov said.

The minority coalition government led by Borisov comprises members of GERB and the Reformist Bloc, a coalition of centrist and right-wing parties. Centre-left ABV party has one minister in the cabinet.

GERB and the Reformist Bloc hold among themselves 106 of the 240 seats in Parliament; ABV has 11. The government is backed in Parlament by the Patriotic Front, a coalition of nationalist parties with 18 MPs, which has no cabinet ministers.

The Patriotic Front proposed the controversial changes to the Electoral Code, which were backed only by GERB in Parliament, drawing fire from voters both at home and abroad.

“I hope that we’ll be able to reach reasonable and just consensus,” Borisov wrote.

VMRO, a party within the Patriotic Front, threatened on Saturday to withdraw support for the cabinet if the changes setting limits to the voting rights of Bulgarian citizens residing abroad were reversed in Parliament.

The National Front for Salvation of Bulgaria, also part of the Patriotic Front, said that by using his veto powers Plevneliev was allegedly seeking support from predominantly ethnic Turk party DPS, the second-biggest opposition group in Parliament after the Socialists, for a second five-year term of office. Bulgaria will hold presidential elections later this year.

Simeonov said earlier this week that the restrictions on the number of polling stations abroad introduced through changes to the Electoral Code would curtail the traditionally massive vote for DPS from Bulgarian citizens living in Turkey.

The Socialists, with 38 seats, and DPS with 30 seats, both reject another change to election rules – the introduction of compulsory voting.

Tags: Bulgaria, Borisov, election rules, veto, Plevneliev, parliament, abroad, polling, stations


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